I have to be transparent with this article as I graduated from San Diego State. However, my analysis of San Diego State possibly joining the Pac !2 Conference remains as objective as possible. With the impending loss of both USC and UCLA to the Big Ten, the southern California football market again has glaring holes in its allure to college football
Adding San Diego State makes sense to the Pac 12 Conference right now.
Once USC and UCLA leave the Pac 12, it’s only a matter of time before other programs such as Oregon and Washington consider their options and join the Big Ten or the Big 12.. Oregon and Washington are both rooted in academic traditions and their presence in the Big Ten is warranted. The Big 12 Conference is geographically closer but schools in the Midwest and Southwest may not feel inclined to travel to the Pacific Northwest for games outside of their regional stomping grounds.
Adding SDSU to the Pac 12 makes sense from a geographic standpoint. With the loss of the Los Angeles market to the Big Ten, the Pac 12 needs San Diego State to maintain a presence in southern California. San Diego State is 6-1 against Pac 12 football opponents since 2017 including a win against Utah last season. The Aztecs boast ten win seasons in the last five out of six years (the shortened 2020 season being the exception.) SDSU is highly competitive in men’s basketball and looks to make the preseason top 25 polls this season.
San Diego State unveils a new stadium this season.
Furthermore, SDSU unveils its new Snapdragon Stadium this season and provides opponents with a brand new football venue in warm, sunny San Diego as opposed to playing in cold rain or snow come November back east. The loss of USC and UCLA means that the Pac 12 loses its presence in all of southern California and the possibility of another academically-oriented institution like Stanford bolting to the Big Ten is possible. The Pac 12 needs to expand and add SDSU to shore up its presence in southern California and add competitive football and basketball programs back into the mix.
The Pac 12, just like the Big Ten, prides itself on its academic prowess. With this, the Pac 12 could claim that San Diego State may not meet its stringent academic standards for conference admission. It’s true that San Diego State isn’t a school like Stanford but neither is Utah, Oregon State or Arizona State. The future of the Pac 12 begins now in its fight for relevancy among the Power 5 conferences. With foresight, the Pac 12 needs to add highly competitive programs to sell this conference into the future and SDSU is a logical choice for expansion.
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